Just as he was emerging as a serious inside-outside threat for perennial local power Santa Rita, junior power forward Roland Jones has been sidelined for the season.
A mass of tissue buildup was discovered in Jones' right knee last month after he was undercut during a game at Amphitheater. And the swelling will require surgery with a three- to four-week recovery process, ending his season.
On Thursday night, the Eagles took the court for the fourth-straight time without their second-leading rebounder and third-leading scorer, managing a 63-47 victory over host Sahuarita in 4A-II Gila Region action.
"It is really frustrating because I was feeling better than ever, and now I have to sit on the bench and watch," said Jones, who was shooting better than 50 percent from the floor. "It's just hard not being on the court."
Without Jones in the lineup, the rest of Santa Rita's roster must fill his roles.
And, as usual, star point guard Terrell Stoglin took care of lighting up the scoreboard, going off for 36 points - 15 on three-pointers and another 13 from the free- throw stripe - moving closer to second place on the state's all-time scoring list.
Stoglin trails former St. Mary's/Arizona star and current Portland Trail Blazer Jerryd Bayless by 147 points for the No. 2 slot.
The Maryland commit was hot from the outset, totaling 15 points in the first quarter as Santa Rita (18-5, 9-2) opened the game on a 19-8 run and led 21-14 after eight minutes.
But Stoglin was held to four points in the second quarter as Sahuarita (5-18, 2-9) went on an 11-3 run to take its first lead at 25-24 on a fast-break layup from point guard Andre Porterfield.
Santa Rita responded as forward Andre Hatchett - the Eagles' lone scoring threat in the post in Jones' absence - combined with Stoglin for a 7-2 run and a 31-27 lead at the break.
"Not having Roland hurts bad, but there isn't anything we can do about it but move on and let everyone else try and fill in for him, pick him up," said Hatchett, who is averaging nearly a double-double a game at 17.7 points and 9.3 rebounds.
"Me and Terrell are the captains, so we know most of that is going to have to be on us."
Hatchett stayed aggressive in the third quarter, scoring eight of Santa Rita's 17 in the period as the Eagles took a commanding 48-34 lead entering the final quarter.
On the defensive end, Hatchett received help down low from an unexpected source. Stoglin was moved onto the block in the Eagles' zone look, something he is willing to do with Jones not able to play.
"Coach (Jim Ferguson) has been on me about rebounding and helping on defense down low, so now I have no choice but to go down there with Roland out," said Stoglin, who is averaging 28.3 points per game. "It feels different without (Jones). Now we just have to try to win without him."
Santa Rita stretched the lead to 18 points in the fourth quarter before clearing the bench.
SANTA RITA 63